"Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind." President John F. Kennedy, September 25, 1961.
As a Baby Boomer and child of the Cold War, I can well remember weekly bomb drills of "duck and cover" under our school desks and the weekly Wednesday midday air raid warning sirens. The threat of assured mutual and mass destruction by nuclear warhead, between the United States and former United Soviet Social Republics (U.S.S.R.) was real.
The sentiment of volatility was strong...and fed by leaders of the day, such as the U.S.S.R.'s Nikita Khrushchev - "If you don't like us, don't accept our invitation and don't invite us to come to see you. Whether you like it or not, history is on our side. We will bury you." Nikita Khrushchev, leader of the Soviet Union, November 18, 1956.
Then as now, the words of our world leaders matter. Khrushchev fueled, as well as lit the spark, which led to the Cuban Missile Crisis, which brought the world to a level of brinkmanship seldom seen before or since. The long road to power and lasting longevity of Russian President Vladimir Putin has again imperiled U.S./Russia relations and increased tensions between our two countries.
But there is a H-U-U-GE difference between being in the periscope sites of a U.S.S.R. submarine carrying nukes, or living in a named target city for Soviet-controlled inter-continental ballistic missiles and being on the receiving end of a supposed Russian-led attempt to hack or influence U.S. elections.
As a reminder, there is NO huge main-frame computer system tallying Presidential election results. U.S. elections are controlled at the local and state level, with results tallied independently and then shared electronically, later re-tabulated and certified. In Georgia alone there are more than 3300 voting precincts, spread across 159 counties, each with its own Elections Superintendent. In the case of the most recent U.S. Presidential election, close contests in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan gave the Electoral College majority and three recently reliable Blue states to Team Trump and the GOP. The combined winning margin in those three states was slightly more than 110,000 votes.
IF in fact Russian hackers were smart enough to hack and crack the elections tabulations or precinct machines in three states...HOW would they have known, in advance, which states and precincts to hack to give Trump's candidacy a majority when turn-out is not known in advance and ballots are not tabulated until the polls close on Election Day? How would the Russians know which precincts to flood with Trump votes? Which states could be swayed without touching/hacking every precinct? Only ONE of these states prior to the election was forecast as being close, with two being predicted as safe Clinton territory.
And for all the fuss being raised about U.S. Senators and or Cabinet level appointees having 'contact' with Russian government representatives, the current Russian Ambassador to the United States is Sergey Kislyak. Ambassador Kislyak was appointed in July of 2008, during the first term of U.S. President Barack Obama. The Ambassador attended both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions during 2016, and is known to the leaders of both national political parties, the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House. Developing relationships and access to centers of power and influence is in fact what Ambassadors and Consul Generals do.
Among more ardent supporters of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as well as more vocal opponents of President Donald Trump, it appears simpler and easier to constantly tout the latest Russian interference conspiracy theory than to accept the results and will of the voters during the 2016 elections. If the Russian hackers are all that good, it would seem that we might have seen pieces of their work all across the country, not just in a handful of states where it would be difficult to know in advance which state’s election results might be close.
In addition to fearing our Soviet enemies and their motivations as a child, I also well remember the oft-told tale of young Russian Peter, and his constant warnings of a hungry wolf threatening the children and people of his village. Peter, who too often cried ‘Wolf’, soon found the ears of his friends and neighbors to be deaf to his warning cries. As they look ahead to the 2018 mid-term elections, Democratic leaders might similarly heed the downsides of their repeated cries of The Russians are coming....the Russians are coming!